Crazy by Gehry

The singular envelope of this building teaches us the twisted and the spectacular which the mind can be.

Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center. (Foto: wikiwand)

Hi, is difficult that in a family so extensive in the time and the space (I talk about mine, of course) do not appear cases of neurodegenerative diseases, like the Alzheimer or the Parkinson, to give just two examples, this generate a special sensitivity to these diseases and becomes of vitally important help to other families to cope this hard trance. I, Rodolfo, I have no magic formula, but I believe in the research as a fundamental tool for the progress in the diagnosis and treatment.

Our lineage has always walked in this direction, helps the surname (I do not deny) but there are more people who are moved by empathy, that those that do for interest, this has generated a strong synergy, resulting in spectacular advances that were unthinkable (never better said) a few decades ago. There are many associations and centres that allocated resources and time in the search for solutions, and the best, are few that are disconnected from the rest, so today I present you here, with proudly, one of those pioneers centres, designed by the most peculiar architect of the world.

Interior de una de las salas de uso común del edificio
One of the rooms use common building.

It’s the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Centre, a new clinical centre highly specialized in the research, the detection and the treatment of neurological diseases, you know, Alzheimer, Huntington, Parkinson or the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or ALS) with headquartered in Las Vegas since 2010. The installation cost some 100 million dollars (92 million euros), and has a diagnostic centre, rooms of neuro-imaging, medical clinics and laboratories devoted to clinical research, as well as other trifles which I will introduce more forward.

Before, I will talk about Larry Ruvo, a businessman who had lost his father (Lou Ruvo) because of Alzheimer’s disease and who had the initiative to create this Centre. He called the most popular architect the world (perhaps), Frank Gehry, who has among other awards the Pritzker Architecture of 1989 or the Principe de Asturias of the arts 2014, very meritorious awards that speak for themselves of his professional career. He refused to hear the offer, had never done any work in the city of Las Vegas, and wasn’t going to start doing it now. But nothing is forever, so they will came to an agreement: Larry would include the disease of Hurrington on the list of research and Gehry would put his best intention in the project.

Vista exterior
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center.

The reasons for the request of Gehry were personal, like everything in the life, one of his best friends, Milto Wexler, his woman had suffered such illness, and the architect was affected by the fate of his friend and family. Milto Wexler was psychoanalyst and overturned part of his life in the pursuit of treatments for the Hurrington, until he was the forerunner of the hereditary diseases Foundation, now is his daughter, Nancy, who has taken the reins of the Foundation. At two years of starting the project in 2009, Larry Ruvo had already a renowned partner: the Cleveland Clinic, I call this synergy, without a doubt.

For this visit I told my engineer cousin, you know, the helicopter pilot. Fly over the building is something that exceeds any carousel or attraction in the city of Las Vegas, I assure you that it is incredible to see the  stainless steel cover vast and amorphous, a bunch of inscrutable metal from the sky and from the ground. We were on the verge of running out without fuel, less evil than my cousin is a professional of first and he is not carried away by the emotions.

Maqueta del edificio. Foto:
Model of the building. (Photo: pinterest)

The complex consists of two buildings, as if it were the two hemispheres of the brain, the rational, where are carried out the medical functions and of research and the emotional hemisphere, where are developed the public events. Between both a transition zone, a park from which you can observe the building and take pictures to upload to twitter or instagram. Aesthetically the rational hemisphere consists of a series of volumes of glass and white stucco, a series of very well organized parallelepipeds that give us some security and peace for the mind.

The second hemisphere, the emotional, is wrapped in a bizarre and enormous curtain wall of stainless steel, with folds and angles without apparent connection (Froid would say: like our dreams). This spectacular wall is anchored to the main facade of the building by 544 elements of steel that weigh between 900 and 4,500 kilograms each, and is subject between 60 and 100 bolts, 18,000 shingles of the same material are joined by 30,000 stainless steel screws for give it its final appearance.

Aerial view of Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center

But that is not all, 199 windows of the building are different between yea, and 18,000 shingles also (even have 875 different tones), of course, it required a special method to identify and place each of these shingles, so, great evils, great remedies. Thanks to the technology BIM was established a barcode for each of stainless steel plates, of this form, they  analyze individually the parts before its final placement… exciting!

The complex includes the Museum of the mind (a centre of interactive learning that focuses on the mind and the brain), a public Cafe and a catering kitchen for those operated of the Wolfgang Puck organization, conference rooms, office spaces; and an auditorium for events, seminars, conferences and forums. Inside the Auditorium, with 13,000 cubic meters of internal volume and a capacity of 400 seated people or 700 people in foot, you can start to tremble, admiring the sinuous cover, which becomes a wall completely drilled by irregular shape windows. All in a pristine white.

Interior del
Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center Interior.

The material that covers a large part of the building is the stucco, a stucco of pristine white. This material has its birth in Venice, with the famous Venetian stucco, it is a mixture of natural elements: slaked lime, powdered marble, plaster and pigments of different colours; it blend until it form a paste that lining the walls. Are used both indoors and outdoors, according to its composition, and allows different finishes: rough, smooth, polished, even you can model giving it different shapes. It is flame retardant, antibacterial (you remember the lime?), and breathable (with what we avoid humidity by condensation).

Its thickness ranges between 2 and 4 mm, always giving it a minimum in two hands, unless the manufacturer indicate another form of use. It is essential that the walls on which we are going to paint with stucco are completely flat, the final visual quality depends of this. I love the idea of using this material in my future building, above all because it is durable, and boasts a wide range of colors and finishes. Byebye.

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